Recovering from Sugar Addiction - After the Withdrawals are Gone, What
This is the second part of an article about sugar addiction. If you missed the first part, you can read it at here.
Last week we talked about the withdrawal symptoms you will experience when kicking the sugar and white flour habit - and how to keep these short-term symptoms from sabotaging your diet. Once you have successfully de-toxed, are you home free?
No, not really.
Most people continue to have a desire for sugar and other sweet treats even after they have successfully detoxified their bodies and are no longer addicted. We have a natural appetite for sweetness.
This is actually quite different from my caffeine addiction - a habit that I kicked two weeks ago. I admit that, even after experiencing that withdrawal headache for a whole weekend, I still find myself wanting a cup of coffee. Does that mean that my addiction still has a hold on me? Not at all - I went through detoxification, and am no longer physically addicted.
But I can still remember the taste of coffee, and I remember that I enjoyed the process of buying a cup from the Starbucks on the way to work. I enjoyed being remembered at the coffee shop every morning. I enjoyed the warm cup in my hand as I walked the last block to work. Those are all the reasons that made me drink coffee often enough to get addicted in the first place.
But I have no natural physical need for stimulants, so the psychological desires are all I have to worry about, and they really aren't all that strong. They feel more like a pleasant memory than a real craving.
With sugar, we are dealing with a very different animal. We do have a natural appetite for sweetness.
Why? Because millions of years ago, this appetite encouraged us to eat fruit. That was before sugar was refined from beets and cane. Now, we feed our natural cravings for sweetness with "artificial fruit"(sugar) that has no nutritional value at all, and which makes us fat and increasingly unhealthy.
You cannot take away this natural craving, because it is part of your survival system.
Many diets help you lose weight in the first month or so, but most people give them up because the diets are built around small portions or the wrong kinds of food, and don't include the nutrients that our bodies need. The body then tries to get the nutrients that are missing from the meals by causing those cravings, which lead you to eat more.
If you don't get the nutrients you need by listening to what your body is really asking for, you can actually become obsessed about food - which makes it almost impossible to stay on a diet.
But you can pay attention to your body, and feed it with the fruit it needs. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who has helped thousands of people lose weight and regain their health, if you listen to your body and give it the nutrients it really needs by feeding it fruits, raw and cooked vegetables, nuts and whole grains, you can eat as much as you want and still lose weight. I know he's right, because I've done it.
As children, we were trained to feed our appetite for sweetness with sugar - in candy, baked goods, soft drinks, and even vitamin pills. Even when most people kick the sugar habit, they still equate a craving for sweetness with a craving for sugar or chocolate. They fight against their cravings, which is really a fight against their own survival system. No wonder so many diets fail.
To learn more about this issue, I highly recommend the new book by Dr Joel Fuhrman, called Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. I personally used a diet very similar to Dr. Fuhrman's program, and lost 37 pounds in 4 months. Every time I stray from this program, the weight starts to sneak back on. I know that this is the diet that I need to stay with for the rest of my life, in order to keep the weight off and stay energetic and enthused about life.
This healthy diet includes large amounts of food, and plenty of the fruit that dulls the sugar cravings. And the weight really does drop off, almost miraculously.
There are many mental exercises that you can use to keep on track with your diet, so you won't give in to the "stinking thinking" that tries to draw you back to your old, dangerous way of eating. I have written a whole book on this subject myself. But I have become convinced that any diet that does not include adequate amounts of fruits and raw vegetables will make it all that more difficult to stay committed to a diet.
Even more importantly, without the nutrients in fresh fruit and vegetables, no diet can really be healthy for you in the long run, even if it temporarily helps you lose weight.
Make it easy on yourself. If you decide to kick the sugar habit that makes you fat and unhealthy, eat plenty of fruits and raw vegetables so that you have a fighting chance to stay off sugar for good.
This article © 2003 Jonni Good, author of Weight Loss: How to Keep Your Commitment. Are you addicted to sugar and junk food? Is that why it's so hard to stay on a diet, lose weight, and get the body you deserve? Take this quiz and find out.
From the desk of Jonni Good
Author of Weight Loss: How to Keep Your Commitment
4820 SW Greensboro Way,
Beaverton, OR 97007